Aug 14, 2020 Covid update

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Dear Valued Patient,

The number of new COVID-19 cases here in Arizona continues to decline. For the past 7 days, we averaged just over a thousand new cases a day which is down by about 15% from last week. Deaths are slightly lower as well, with around 54 a day on average over the past 7 days, down from 55 a day last week.

To clarify some questions I have received, I get my data from the Arizona state health department website There are some nuances associated with using this site. The state will update the data daily, yet also has a bar graph showing cumulative results. The bar graph is often a week behind the actual reported number for each day. I do not know why that is. In addition, case reports like the numbers I just mentioned often reflect what was going on several days ago due to the time between when a test is done and when it is reported out. Using a 7-day average helps adjust for some of that discrepancy, yet the data is still a little off in terms of timeliness.

On the other hand, the hospital data is up to date, and encouragingly we are seeing steady declines in the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19. We peaked in hospitalized patients exactly a month ago, yet now we are seeing levels that we were seeing back in June before we saw the massive increase. We are not yet at the lowest levels yet appear to be approaching them. However, there are still 1359 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide as of yesterday.

Flu shots are becoming available and I encourage everyone to get one this year since our nightmare scenario is having a massive influenza outbreak combined with a COVID resurgence. I am aware that several pharmacies around town already have doses available. We too will have doses available in the office later this month. However, I recommend not getting a flu shot until September, since the vaccine only lasts about 5 months, and too early an administration will not necessarily protect you during our usual peak months of February and early March. Unlike my advice in years past, I do not recommend waiting past September to get your flu shot. Those over age 65 should get the high dose shot and regardless of age everyone should get a quadrivalent or four-strain shot. This year marks the first time we have a four-strain shot available in the high dose shot.

We are seeing patients every day of the week now except for Wednesday and weekends, so I kindly request that if you need to reach me during clinic hours of 8:30AM to 4:30 PM please call the office. If you would like us to give you a flu shot call us and we will let you know when to come in to get one since we are still restricting the number of people in the office.

Finally, we welcome Karyssa to our staff as a new medical assistant/front office person. Sue, BJ, Erin, and Cynthia continue with me as well.

Take care and have a good week.
Jeffrey Mayer, MD